Letters to the Editor

Letters on minimum wage, ‘pay-to-delay’ drugs, Social Security

Raising minimum wage won’t help

Raising the minimum wage may seem to help some, for a short time. But in the long run, it helps no one.

When I got my first job in 1970, a minimum-wage hour of work would buy approximately two Big Macs. Today a minimum-wage hour of work will buy approximately two Big Macs. The minimum wage can be raised as high as you like, and eventually it will again only buy two Big Macs, leaving the minimum-wage earner no better off than before.

The only way for the minimum-wage earner to do better financially is to get a non-minimum-wage job. The best way to do that is through hard work, making oneself more valuable to the employer – or through education, learning more valuable skills.



Paid to delay

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that pharmaceutical companies’ “pay-to-delay” strategy could violate antitrust laws. Brand-name pharmaceutical companies often delay competition by paying a generic competitor to hold its competing product off the market for a period of time.

It’s win-win for the companies: The brand-name manufacturer can continue to charge monopoly prices, and the generic company is paid to do nothing for a while. But it’s obviously bad for consumers.

I was relieved to hear that the California Supreme Court ruled recently (in the first case to come up since the U.S. Supreme Court decision) that Teva Pharmaceutical violated state antitrust laws by paying another company to delay manufacturing a generic version of its best-selling antibiotic, Cipro.

If we are serious about keeping health care costs in check, we need to continue to demand more competition among the insurance and pharmaceutical companies.



Shouldn’t worry

A front-page article indicated that Social Security was in dire economic straits (“Where Social Security stands as it turns 80,” Aug. 14 Eagle).

Americans like me who are closing in on retirement shouldn’t worry one little bit about Social Security. Compared with Medicare, Social Security is on solid economic footing.



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Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.